Posts Tagged 'facebook'

Can I Walk Away From It?

I have 419 “friends” on Facebook. Four hundred nineteen. I am baffled as I typed that number. Last year, before “The Great Purge,” which is what I called what I did this same time last year when I deleted “hundreds of people” from my Friends list– most of whom were people I “friended” due to that godforsaken Facebook game called “Mafia Wars”– I had over 600. Six hundred!

Like many users of that popular social network, my “Friends” actually include family members, real-life friends, online “friends,” former/current work colleagues, former schoolmates, social acquaintances (i.e. people with whom I get drunk), friends of friends, friends of friends of friends. The list goes on. But, also akin to the conditions that afflict most users, I truly interact with maybe only a couple of dozen of them on a regular basis.

Such is life, you say? Of course. Then, why the hell should I have over four hundred of them saddling my account? It seems an unnecessary abundance– hundreds of people to whom I have nothing to say and vice versa. Hence, why keep them?

“You brought that on to yourself,” a good friend recently told me. Pointedly, I might add. He’s right, of course.

I thought about doing another “great purge,” and just systematically deleting people from my account, but then I thought that would seem heartless and insensitive. After all, most of these people sought me out, and I allowed the association. Simply deleting them would be the most blatant thing I could do. However, since 90% of them choose to not interact with me either, what would be the big deal? And, if they truly want to be my friend (sans quotation marks), they’ll seek me out again, right? Unless, of course, the act of deletion would make them blackball me from their “friends” lists. Am I making a quandary out of nothing?

I could make myself feel better by convincing myself that I would actually be doing those people a favor by purging them from my list, sparing them from having to see posts/updates from someone with whom they consciously choose to not interact regularly anyway. But, knowing myself, I would allow some version of guilt to overwhelm me, and I would wonder (for a long while) how many people’s feelings I may have hurt. It wouldn’t matter if those feelings weren’t hurt at all; I would still let it bother me.

Then, I thought a more brilliant idea would be create a new Facebook profile (which I already did) bearing a different, yet still somewhat related, user name. I would then strategically “friend” only the family members and friends with whom I truly want to interact frequently and genuinely. It would allow me to manage my “friends” list to a more reasonable number. Two digits, undoubtedly, and maybe even under 50. It would be very exclusive– borderline elitist– and I would summarily dismiss any “friend requests” from casual acquaintances. In other words, I would somewhat disappear from the masses.

The most radical thought I have is to just stop using Facebook altogether. After all, I’ll still have my Twitter account; not having a Facebook account would make it so that I’m checking one less thing for updates. And, if I truly needed an online venue to interact, I could explore Google+, which seems to be a promising platform for me to start over, so to speak.

In other words, I could simply delete my current account without any notice. No if’s, and’s, or but’s. It seems the most fair way to go about whittling my social (network) responsibility.

But, can I really do that? Can I truly walk away from that which I’ve built into a thriving element of my social life, however pathetic that may sound?

Friends Anonymous?

The other night, I was hanging out with a bunch of people I’d met several months ago through a social networking site (Yelp) and a friend of mine I’d known for nearly 20 years stopped by.  He commented: “You have way too many groups of friends who don’t know each other.”

I thought about what he said.  It was true, of course, but I don’t think it’s unusual.  In town, I have four distinct groups of people with whom I spend time separately from the other groups:

One group is comprised of friends whom I’ve known for nearly 20 years, and were very present during my socially formative years.  These are folks who’ve helped me through through some big struggles in life.  They are first to congratulate and first to offer constructive criticism. They are the truest friends one can ever have the privilege of having.  Some of them have moved to other parts of the country, but we still keep in close touch.

Another group is comprised of former co-workers with whom I still keep in close contact and socialize periodically.

A third group is comprised of current co-workers, some of whom I hang out with outside of work.

A fourth group includes a fun group of people from Yelp.

And then, there’s Facebook, where yet another friend exclaimed recently: “How can you have 348 friends?!”  And let’s not even talk about my blog friends.

We are a social animal, so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this scenario.  Where it can get dicey is if we end up not investing in the friendships that we’re fortunate enough to possess.   Many of my former close acquaintances fall into this category, and I’m saddened by it.  But not all friendships are meant to last, after all.

In the end, on that other night, I was able to convince my friend of 20 years to meet the Yelp gang, and he was thankful.  He enjoyed his time with them (as I’d predicted).

Count that as a step toward bridging the gap among my groups of friends.

Bullet Thoughts // 02.21.09

There really are a lot of ‘crazy folk’ in Portland.  The most amusing and seemingly harmless bunch are those folk who love to talk whether or not there’s another person on the other end of the conversation.  You see them on the streets, involved in one tirade or another, with topics as varied as the weather, God, and the donut shop around the corner.  One was on the bus with me today.  I don’t think he was completely out of his mind, but he certainly wasn’t all there.  He jabbered on while one other hapless passenger within his vicinity could do nothing but nod and respond periodically.  The guy truly didn’t care whether anyone was listening or not.  Like the Energizer Bunny, he kept going and going and going.  Oh, and he had a dog with him; a boxer of some sort that seemed docile enough.  The problem is that animals are not allowed on the bus unless they were in kennels or are labeled ‘service animals.’  I guess he got us on a loophole; he’s probably insane, after all, which means he’s handicapped and that dog was probably some sort of ‘service’ animal.  But, is there really a service dog for crazy?

—–

My favorite coffee shop near the house is finally showing some customer recognition abilities.  They still don’t care enough to know my name in spite of my being a weekly (or even more frequent) customer.  But, when I ordered my decaf Americano this afternoon, the lady behind the counter– one to whom smiling seems to be a strained facial expression and, therefore, should be avoided at all costs– said, “You like that in the big cup, right?”  I nodded.  Well, if nothing else, she probably knows me as the ‘Big Cup Decaf Americano Guy.’  I guess that’s better than nothing.

—–

Meanwhile, I’m at one of my favorite watering holes right now where I go in, find a seat, and the guy behind the bar immediately pours me a pint of Guinness without my even asking for one.  No sooner than I get my trusted laptop set up do I have a pint of cold, dark serving of heaven plopped down in front of me.  Greetings and pleasantries are overrated.  Just bring me my beer.

—–

At a wine tasting dinner last night, I fell into a riveting conversation with strangers about the state of society nowadays amidst ever-changing, constantly improving technology.  I’d previously blogged about this, of course, so my reservations where fresh in my mind.  We focused on how technology is at once bringing us closer together and tearing us apart.  I updated my Facebook status via my cellphone while the two ladies with whom I was involved in the discussion were waxing nostalgic about the ‘old days’ when people actually talked to one another rather than relying on emails, texting, or BBS’s.  I agreed and said that these days you’d be hard pressed to find a coffee shop without a sea of laptops adorning the tabletops, their individual owners hidden behind display screens, some with headphones on, effectively shutting out the world around them.  One lady, a psychologist by trade, says that we’ve evolved into a society of isolationists.  I paused my phone call to nod at her in agreement.

—–

I saw Coraline today.  In 3D.  Go see this film.  It’ll give you nightmares but it would be so worth it.

Bullet Thoughts // 12.06.08

Common courtesies are all but gone these days. I was at Powell’s this morning, browsing a shelf of books, and someone passed between me and the bookshelf without even an “Excuse me.” This was followed by yet another. I always make it a point to say “Excuse me” if I’m passing between two people or if in a similar situation at a bookstore. Is it too much to ask for from others?

—–

I believe that if you can’t take care of a virtual pet, you’re probably going to be just as irresponsible with one in real life. There is an application on Facebook called Pokey, which provides users with a virtual puppy. Your ‘puppy’ requires regular feeding, watering, playing with, and petting/scratching– in other words, all the things one would expect to do with a real puppy. Maybe it’s a bit like ‘out of sight, out of mind’ but there are some pet owners among my Friends that seem to neglect their puppies, some of whom aren’t fed/watered for 10 days. It’s kinda scary. I want to think that if the puppy were real, they would get better care, but neglect of a virtual puppy seems indicative of real life.

—-

I can’t handle my alcohol anymore. I woke up with a hangover this morning and realized that it was due to only four pints of beer. Four! Not that it’s anything to be too proud of, but I used to be able to down more pints than that without breaking a sweat. I’ve gotten old…

Extry! Extry! Read All About It!

Some minor changes happening here at Jon’s Other Blog.  First, I added my Flickr PhotoStream because, well, why not?  Secondly, I added a link to my Facebook account so that you’ll always be honored to view my status updates.  This is because I can never get Twitter to work for me, so this is sort of a workaround.  And lastly, I added one itty-bitty line to my ‘About’ page which offers an explanation why my nomenclature in this here blog may be different than what is printed in my birth certificate.

Have a great day!

I Think I’m Getting Addicted…

…to Facebook.

Gulp.

I Be Facebookin’, Yo

So, I’ve recently joined Facebook. And by recently, I mean like in the last three weeks. Since then, I’ve reconnected with friends, relatives, and former colleagues that I’ve all but lost touch with throughout the years. This ‘networking’ tool certainly does wonders. The biggest wonder of which is how much spam (junk mail) I’ve gotten since joining. It’s actually quite irritating. I have a pittly 20Mb capacity mailbox that gets filled to the brim within a day due to all the damned spam I’m getting. Oh, I’ve tried circumventing it by changing the email address on my Facebook profile– to a Yahoo! one that I don’t generally check– but the damage is already done. Thanks to Facebook, I am bombarded with ads for pharamaceutical products I will never use, money-making schemes that will never work for me, and scammers posing as respectable financial institutions trying to get at what little money I do possess. Thanks a lot, Facebook.